Open peer review

Peer review is an established form of peer review that serves the validation of research papers to ensure the soundness of published research. Peer review can take different forms depending on the journal.  In more recent times, with the spread of the Web and open access publishing, Open Peer Review is gaining ground. This involves a number of possible modifications to the traditional academic review process.

Open Peer Review does not have a standard structure, nevertheless it is possible to give a generic definition of it by describing it as a model of peer review that involves the possible disclosure of the identities of authors and referees (at least to each other) and in which some aspects of the peer review process are made public.

Features that distinguish it from the traditional review process include all or some of the following:

  • the names of authors and reviewers are known, (not necessary for reviewers who can maintain anonymity)
  • the publication of reviews along with the article normally filed as a pre-print,
  • the openness of discussion between authors, reviewers and editors,
  • the possibility for other members of the disciplinary community to add comments.

All this also entails the disjunction between the peer review process and the publication process: review can in fact be managed by an infrastructure other than the publication site. It is also possible to make pre-print manuscripts immediately available and to refine them before publication of the Version of record thanks to interactions with colleagues of  the disciplinary community, as well as to receive additional comments and evaluations after publication.

The discussion about what the advantages and disadvantages of either form of peer review are is still ongoing and will continue in the coming years, however, it is possible to say that Open Peer Review allows, in addition to a considerable decrease in costs, a significant reduction in the time it takes to disseminate articles, the possibility of opening an immediate debate within the scientific community not limited to invited reviewers, with all that this entails in terms of the liveliness of the debate itself, encouraging innovation and stimulating further research developments more generally.

One of the most interesting aspects consists in the possibility for the scientific community to have a clearer picture of a journal’s decision-making processes. Indeed, transparency is one of the characteristics that characterize open science and the tools that implement it.

Another aspect of fundamental importance, should the reviewer decide to waive anonymity (which in open peer review is configured as a choice and not an obligation), is to be able to recognize the reviewers for their efforts, thus triggering a virtuous mechanism of broadening the parameters of evaluation for academic career purposes, an aspect that in turn stimulates accurate and impartial reviews as they can be verified by the rest of the scientific community.

Open peer-review plaforms:

ORE Open Research Europe: from preprint to review and acceptance

PCi Peer Community in: ccepts preprints submitted to any preprint platform, validates them and offers the possibility of publication in diamond open-access

PREreview: is a site that publishes peer reviews of preprints